Skip to main content

Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering: Cited Reference Searching

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

What is cited reference searching?

Cited reference searching allows you to locate books and articles that cite a previously published resource. This process allows you to track the research that has been done since the original item was published.

Why use cited reference searching?

  • To locate current research based on earlier research
  • To determine influential research
  • To find out how many times and where a publication is being cited
  • To find out who is citing a particular paper
  • To find out how a particular research topic is being used to support other research
  • To track the history of a research idea
  • To track the research history of a researcher
  • To determine how well your own published research is cited for promotion/tenure considerations

What should concern you about cited reference searching?

  • Citation rates vary widely from field to field and shouldn't be taken at face value, but considered relative to the field of research
  • Citation rate may be based on a few prolific authors citing each other, including self citations
  • Citation searching works better for journal articles than books
  • Cross-disciplinary research may produce fewer citations
  • Coverage of your particular field in the citation database may be weak
  • The research may too recent and not widely known, like emerging fields
  • The quality of the journal producing the citation
  • Distribution of the citations over time might be more indicative of their importance than an initial high citation count shortly after publication
  • There is a growing tendency of some researchers to go after topics likely to get into high-impact journals, which jeopardizes creativity, can skew the course or even slow the pace of science
  • Some journals also cite articles in editorials, reviews, news and other non-research articles to increase the number of cites
  • There is no guarantee that every paper which ought to be cited will be cited. An un-cited author may be ahead of his peers. Mendel and his genetics work went unappreciated for years

Where can I search for cited references?

Many resources provide information on cited references including the three listed below:

Google Scholar

You can set up preferences in Google Scholar on personal computing devices so that the Find It links for your university always display in your Google Scholar search results.

Web of Science

Scifinder Scholar